Sunday, January 14, 2018


SINthetic by J.T. Nicholas
Kensington Books: 1/23/18
eBook review copy; 176 pages
ISBN-13: 9781635730074

SINthetic by J.T. Nicholas is a highly recommended science fiction novel.

Detective Jason Campbell is called to a murder scene in the city of New Lyons. A female body has been found mutilated, cut open with the internal organs missing, and left in the streets. But once the investigators realize the body is a Synth, the crime is designated as the destruction of property, and no investigation is needed. Campbell has no murder case. In the future Synthetics, known as Synths, are lab-grown people that under the law have no rights. They are mules. They are made to do the menial jobs that no one else wants to do.  Legally, "they were less than people on a level so profound that they were relegated to objects, to things."

While Campbell may disagree with the system, he knows he can't fight it and keep his job. He does talk the medical examiner into having one of his technicians look for any clues, just in case this event signals the beginning of a serial killer. When he returns to his home in Floattown, a bad neighborhood where cheap prefabricated buildings are built on VLFSs (very large floating structures) over what was once the city New Orleans, he is shocked to find a stranger in his apartment, sitting in his recliner. The man is a Synth, and he asks Campbell to secretly investigate the death anyway, because this dead Synth isn't the first. The stranger gives him a list of dead Synth's who were all killed in the same way.

SINthetic has an engaging premise and will capture your attention immediately. The writing is good and the plot carefully planned to slowly release more information about Campbell and his background.  You know that Campbell has some mysterious event in his background that opens him up to being sympathetic to the treatment of Synths. He is also a master of martial arts and fighting, which will come into play several times.

There are pros and cons to this novel. It is the first book in a new series, which is great, but it also felt like the action, story, and pages in this first book were cut down way-too-much, perhaps to facilitate the new series. The investigation felt attenuated. Yes, it is compelling and full of great action sequences. It comes to a satisfying conclusion, but it comes to that conclusion to the investigation rather quickly and abruptly. It might have been more satisfying if there were a few more twists and turns to the investigation - a little more intrigue and subterfuge.

This first book nicely sets up what will be the second book in the series, SINdication, which is to be released just under a month from this one, on March 20th. It is nice to know the second book will be following the first so quickly, but I couldn't help but feel how much more satisfying it might have been for me, as a reader to get these two books together. SINthetic is only 176 pages. SINdication is 304 pages. The third book, SINdrome is scheduled for release on 9/18 with an estimated 304 pages. Series are sometimes nice for long tales, but there is something to be said in getting the whole story, or a larger chunk of it, quickly.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Kensington Books via Netgalley.

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